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6R80 Transmission Cooler/Adapter Upgrade

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After every Transit I own breaking the transmission heat exchanger/cooler and destroying transmissions I've decided to remove that piece and use an adapter and Derale aluminum heatsink cooler instead.

I want low maintenance for my highway and off-road usage in hot weather. Death Valley was 124°f the other day!

I know our local Las Vegas Ford mechanic will chime in with how great the factory system is but I'm tired of driving ticking time bombs around.

On order is the Powerhouse Racing cooler line adapter and the Derale aluminum heatsink dual pass cooler unit to be mounted under the van(the big one).

No plans to use fans or front mount of the cooler unless warranted by the temperatures of the transmission.



Here we go. I'll have a local line builder arrange fittings and oil lines then do a fluid flush/fill followed by radiator/cooling system flush and fill and block off the lines that go to the transmission heat exchanger.

Bye bye hot engine and transmission temps!

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Got a call from the transmission shop and they said the transmission was two quarts low.

This after I'd filled it up while partially warm the other day and ran it almost 400 miles. Maybe filling out the air pockets?

They are putting the push lock lines on and then double checking the level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Ok, we got an update. The transmission temps are actually solid at the cooler now that the fluid is at proper level.

I just drove around town for an hour and a half with a couple stops that were quick to get distilled water and coolant flush.

Got back to the house and the cooler was 156°f.

Shifting feels solid all around.

The exchanger is weeping coolant though. My next project is flushing the cooling system and then either plugging the exchanger transmission lines or just bypassing the unit.

I'll post up a video about the setup once it is complete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
I ran the van today out to Death Valley. Did some climbs up to Dante's View and back out of the park plus cruising highway at 80 mph.

Back in town I ran it around the city and then back home and I checked the external cooler temp to be at 200°f.

I'm thinking I need it front mounted or add a fan under there and an air duct of some sort.

Or just get a tube and fin cooler mounted up. I like how robust the heatsink cooler is for off-road purposes tucked up under the van. A rock to the tube and fin might spell disaster.
 

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I ran the van today out to Death Valley. Did some climbs up to Dante's View and back out of the park plus cruising highway at 80 mph.

Back in town I ran it around the city and then back home and I checked the external cooler temp to be at 200°f.

I'm thinking I need it front mounted or add a fan under there and an air duct of some sort.

Or just get a tube and fin cooler mounted up. I like how robust the heatsink cooler is for off-road purposes tucked up under the van. A rock to the tube and fin might spell disaster.
Where you went only tells half the story. Just as important is how hot was it?
My first visit the highest air temp was 68 degrees.
 

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Where you went only tells half the story. Just as important is how hot was it?
My first visit the highest air temp was 68 degrees.
It's not going to be 68º in September unless h-e-double toothpicks has frozen over (which it doesn't seem to have). Highs this week will be averaging 105ºF. Not to mention there are some big passes getting around/out of DV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
It's not going to be 68º in September unless h-e-double toothpicks has frozen over (which it doesn't seem to have). Highs this week will be averaging 105ºF. Not to mention there are some big passes getting around/out of DV.
99°f was the highest yesterday.

I took the van up to Cerro Gordo in the beginning of September and it was running hot just looking at the hills.

Finally started working on the cooling system tonight. Drained coolant and it has a lot of oil mixed in and stinks really bad!

Put in some Prestone cooling system cleaner and ran it for a half hour with the heat blasting to get the heater core flushed as well.

I'll flush that out once it cools and do some some more distilled water runs before filling it back up with coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Even with the cooling system in poor condition 124°f wasn't an issue on level ground. The climbs at any temp are an issue though.

Since adding the external cooler, even without ducting or a van, the needle has not gone above the middle like it did before.

Just to be safe I'll work on a duct and fan setup.

The easier way would be hanging a fan cooled tube and fin cooler under there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Did a proper test of whether the engine cooling system is functioning or not with the removal of the transmission heat exchanger.

If any of you are familiar with I-15 in Southern Utah, the climb from St. George to Cedar City will crank your temps up pretty good. The 80mph speed limit will exacerbate the cooling system strain.

I cranked the A/C to full blast and up we went. The needle never moved off of just below the middle mark on the gauge.

I'm still flushing the system so there is mostly distilled water.

We'll call it a win for the cooling system. A/C stayed on cold, no power loss or limp mode(as it would normally do, even under cold ambient temps.

My last step is switching cooler types or making a cooling duct and fan arrangement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Radiator is splitting on the passenger side about midway up.

Time for a new radiator.

This is a first for all of the Transits I've owned, most over 400 to 500k miles.
 

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Radiator is splitting on the passenger side about midway up.

Time for a new radiator.

This is a first for all of the Transits I've owned, most over 400 to 500k miles.
How many 2015 through 2022 transits have you owned?
You must be an hauling freight coast to coast to rack up those miles.
That's what I would do if I was younger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
I'll be yanking the radiator tomorrow. New parts arrive Monday but I'll be on the road a lot so we'll see when I can get it installed.

Switching to the new yellow coolant along with new hoses. Will work on a duct for forcing air over the trans cooler as well.

Amazon has some brake ducting hose and intakes that can go through the bumper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Doing this radiator is sort of a pain. Do they make vehicles difficult to make theft more difficult?

Front end is off and my Metris is holding that.

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Radiator and hoses arrive tomorrow. I'll be capping off the transmission heat exchanger pipes.

Also noticing the oil cooler uses one of these heat exchangers regulated by engine coolant.

A dual circuit Derale or the like cooler with a fan a separate the engine coolant for just engine cooling is sounding great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Radiator is done and the van is back together. Runs great and no leaks. Switched to neon yellow Prestone coolant versus the stock orange stuff after a good flushing.

A word of advice for anyone doing the radiator swap, there is a video on YouTube of a guy pulling off the whole front clip with bumper. That is what you want to do.

There are other videos of trying to do cheater methods that end up taking way more time and not working.

Pulling the whole front fascia made the job go quick and dare I say easy. Just get new clips for your fender arches and the special tool for the hose clamps and you're golden.
 

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... Aluminum isn’t actually that good of a heat conductor.
Actually aluminum is a very good heat conductor based upon Thermal Conductivity (see attached). I can only speak from a culinary perspective but that's why a professional Chef would not like to use aluminum cookware. It conducts heat too well directly though the vessel and does not radiate it well. Aluminum cookware gets 'hot spots' directly above the heat source whereas something like cast iron is a poor conductor of heat. But when it gets hot, its heat is radiated consistently throughout the pan. But aluminum cookware is relatively cheap and that's why its seen in a lot of home kitchens.

 
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